Everyone Likes Exhibitions!


I am in a ceramic club, Silica at Illinois State University. Next semester as a club, we are all going to go to the NCECA conference. NCECA (National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts) is an organization in the U.S that promotes ceramics as an art form.
Exhibitions are a public display of works of art or other items of interest, held in an art gallery or museum or at a trade fair.
NCECA has different exhibitions which include the National Student Juried Exhibition. This exhibition is held annually, and showcases undergraduate and graduate student work. This really caught my interest because this is something I could possibly submit work to in the future, and members of our Silica group are going to be able to submit their work to this exhibition also. This is a great way to represent Illinois States ceramic program. I’m really excited to go to NCECA this year and see if anyone in our program wins awards for submitting work in this exhibition!

Here is a link to NCECA’s website: http://nceca.net/

nceca nceca 1

Some images of work at past NCECA’s:

nceca 2 nceca 3


It’s So Pretty and Smooth!


About a month ago, my Ceramics teacher had some extra Porcelain clay that he let us split up and use. I had a couple pounds of it but I was too scared to use it. I’d never worked with porcelain before. Every time I’ve seen porcelain pieces, I’ve thought they looked really elegant and smooth. I am very interested in this type of clay. Porcelain fires to a nice white color in bisque, instead of a pinky color like our regular clay does.

Porcelain is a ceramic material made by heating materials, including clay. The toughness, strength, and translucence of porcelain come from the formation of glass and the mineral mullite within the fired body at high temperatures. Porcelain can be referred to as “china” or “fine china”, because China was the birthplace of porcelain making.

So anyway, it was the last week for wet working and I remembered I hadn’t used the porcelain yet. I couldn’t waste it so I had to conquer my fear and try to make something out of it. I put a lump of it on the wheel and once I started to work with it, it was amazing. The clay was so smooth and so easy to work with on the wheel. After I used up all the clay I knew I wanted to work more with porcelain in the future and I can see why so many potters do.

Here are some images of porcelain pieces:

porcelain 2 porcelain 3 porcelain 4 porcelain 5


Reading for a Change


Recently I read an article from Ceramic Arts Daily by Jennifer Allen. She talks about how to make a living as a potter. It isn’t an easy task, but ceramics is her passion. One main thing she notes is that it’s important to promote and sell work online. Times are changing and most people use the internet. If you want to be known and sell work, the internet is a great place to be. I think this is great advice for when I start selling work myself. I learned about Jennifer Allen through my professor Tyler Lotz. He’s talked about how he balances being a dad and a teacher and a potter also. That is something Jennifer has to do as a mom. It’s all about balance, and it’s all about the love; for ceramics.

Link to her article:http://ceramicartsdaily.org/ceramic-art-and-artists/functional-pottery/jennifer-allen-working-potter/

Some of her work:

jennifer allen

jennifer allen cups

jennifer allen plates

jennifer allen stuff



Ceramics Has a History?


In my first Ceramics course, our final project had to do with ceramic pieces made in a certain time period in the past. I was looking up some dated pieces online and found Ancient Egyptian Pottery. Some of the ancient Egyptian pottery included canopic jars which were used by the Ancient Egyptians during the mummification process to store and preserve the viscera  of their owner for the afterlife. I really like the contrast between the lid and the bottom of the jars. The bottoms are really simple and the lids are detailed. Most pottery made in ancient times was functional and served a purpose, as these jars did. It really makes me think about the functionality of the pieces I am making, and the different purposes they can serve.

canopic jars


Firings Anyone?


This semester in Ceramics, our class usually picked between an oxidation (usually electric) or reduction (gas) glaze fire. Personally I like to fire my pieces in oxidation, but one thing our class did a couple weeks ago was a soda fire. I think it’s really awesome to learn all of the different effects different firings have on glazes. Here is a picture of how some of my pieces turned out in the soda fire:

(^I mainly glazed my pieces with flasing slip which gave it the orange color, and then chose a glaze for the inside. )

Soda firings are pretty unpredictable and take a lot of work to prepare, so they’re not really my thing but it was fun to try it out.

Here is a link if you want to learn more about soda firings:


Soda fired pieces:

soda fire

soda fire 2







The Potentials of a Thrown Pot


At the end of this semester in school, I was thinking about how much work we’ve done on the wheel in my ceramics class. Our teacher always tries to push us to think of all the ways we can change a thrown pot to make it unique. Different rims or changing up the feet doesn’t always satisfy. I found this video on http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/wheel-throwing-techniques/wheel-throwing-video-fitting-form-how-to-alter-wheel-thrown-pottery-using-darts/ , where Lorna Meaden demonstrates how she darts a wheel-thrown pitcher to alter the shape. It shows a really cool way that you can alter a wheel thrown pot. I think this opens up a world of ideas for altering thrown pieces.



Here are some images of different altered pieces after they were thrown on the wheel:

altered other

altered other other


Inspirational Artist


Recently in my Ceramics class we had to do an artist presentation. I picked Allison McGowan as my contemporary ceramic artist because her work really inspired my own. When I was looking through her website and looking at all of her work I fell in love with the way she uses stamping on her pieces. Allison is a studio ceramist in Concord, NC. She received her MFA from NYSCC at Alfred University. The work that she is making currently is hand built with slabs. I noticed that even though she is working with slabs, she knows when to leave that evidence, and when to cover it up. She likes to leave the seams of where she joins parts of the piece together, but then she will make additions to rims so that they’re not just the edge of the slab. Overall, Allison is one of my favorite artists. Her use of stamping and glazing techniques really inspired the pieces I recently made in my Ceramics class.  Here is a link to her website: http://www.allisonmcgowan.com/artist.asp

allison cup with button stamping

(^Her use of stamping/glaze on her pieces)

allison candy dish

allison bagpot

(^Additions to rims)

allison creating

(^Allison demonstrating how to make one of her pieces)